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Settlement Intentions of New Immigrants in Germany

Content and Objective

Demographic change and increasing international competition for highly skilled personnel resulted in a distinct transformation in Germany’s labour immigration policy during the last decade. This change is manifested in a number of reform stages oriented to two central criteria: the introduction of the criterion of educational and vocational qualifications as a central steering instrument for labour immigration and the expansion of immigration opportunities for highly skilled workers and the rights granted them.

In spite of this positive development, only a comparatively small number of highly skilled workers decide to immigrate to Germany. Current prognoses by the Federal Employment Agency on demographic change assume that starting in 2015 an annual increase in immigration of 40,000 to 80,000 highly skilled workers will be needed to cover the demand for skilled personnel. The current immigration figures are far from this objective since at present not even the pure immigration figures for highly skilled workers – not including remigration – reach this level. We can therefore conjecture that most highly skilled new immigrants remain abroad only temporarily and only some of the immigrants have intentions to remain for the longer term.

Until now, existing scientific studies on intentions to remain focused primarily on the intentions of earlier immigrant generations. Current results on contemporary immigration are available only for a few selected groups without drawing conclusions for immigration in general and the perspectives of internationally mobile highly skilled workers. This is all the more unfortunate since better knowledge about the influencing factors of intentions to remain may be of great importance for future political reforms. The objective of this project, which is being carried out by the BiB together with the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), is therefore for the first time to comprehensively study the determinants of the intentions of contemporary employment-oriented immigrants to remain in Germany with a specific focus on highly skilled workers.

Additional Information


Dr. Lenore Sauer

Phone: +49 611 75 4516
Fax: +49 611 75 3960

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Cooperation Partner

Barbara Heß
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Frankenstraße 210
90461 Nürnberg

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© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2017